Help us find him – that’s the plea today from police to Yorkshire Evening Post readers as the search continues for one of Leeds’s most elusive criminals.
Christopher Woodhead went on the run in 2004, shortly before he was due to stand trial over a £400,000 swindle involving his Leeds-based housing repair firms.
Woodhead was found guilty in his absence and given a six-year jail term, with the judge in his case branding him an “amoral fraudster”.
Previous reports have claimed that he has gone to ground in either Spain or Canada and today he remains at large.
Now the police and the Serious Fraud Office have appealed for the public’s help in tracking Woodhead down.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: “He will be around 60 years old and has previously used an alias of John Christopher Meek.
“While there has been no new intelligence as to his whereabouts, we are still actively seeking Christopher Woodhead and would appeal for anyone who knows where he is, or has any information that may help us catch him, to call the police.”
A Serious Fraud Office spokesman said: “More than eight years have elapsed but it does not diminish the judicial demand that he serve his sentence”.
Woodhead’s last known address is Merchants Quay, a luxury apartment complex in the middle of Leeds.
His trial heard he controlled three firms – Midland Coating Company, Seal Point and the Weather Protection Company, all based in Sheepscar.
The YEP had launched an investigation into Midland’s sales tactics in January 1998 after an elderly widow from Pudsey was persuaded to spend £8,000 on a repair job that took just four hours to carry out.
Similar cases came to light and by the end of the year Midland had gone into voluntary liquidation, owing £360,000.
Fraud experts later found Woodhead had “systematically milked” Midland and his other firms, with more than £400,000 vanishing from their accounts.